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Full text of "NightRider"

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came to theience that bordered the road. Then he stopped,
He laid his hand to the rough rail, and stood and stared
down the road, which was pale against the darkness of the
brush beside it. Every slight sound of the night—the water
falling, the whip-poor-will very far off, the uneasy shifting of
the guinea hens in their trees back of the house—these
sounds registered upon him, each perfect, isolated, vibrant
with the small re-echo deep within his being. For how long
a time he could not tell, he stood there in that anticipatory
posture, his fingers gripping the rail, while those sounds,
each individual in the wide silence, impinged upon him.

Slowly, he relaxed his grip upon the rail. Those sounds,
which had come to him individually and complete with a
resonance like that of a struck bell, grew blurred, and dulled.
He struck his right fist into the palm of his left hand. He
said aloud: " God damn! God damn, I've got to do some-
thing." And again: " I've got to."

Then he felt exhausted. He only wanted to get back into
the room, into the bed, to close his eyes. He moved toward
the house, hunching his bare shoulders against the night
chill.

But some nights, when he did sleep, he had the dream.
He had first dreamed it shortly after coming to the Proudfit
place. At that time he had come to consciousness weak and
sweating, filled with an unutterable grief. But now when he
dreamed it, the grief was gone. Even in the dream now, he
knew that it had been dreamed before.

That first night he had been sitting out on the porch while
Adelle Proudfit sang. Toward the end of the evening she
sang about Pretty Polly.

'"Walk with me, Pretty Polly,

For we go to the church soon.'
He said, * Now, Pretty Polly,
It's nigh the full of the moon.5

* Not now, not now,' said Pretty Polly,

* I'll walk some other day/
But he took her by her lily-white hand

And led her far away."